KCUA Impact

The MAP administrates the development and implementation of KC Urban Advantage (KCUA) programming, resources, and partnerships to provide comprehensive, ongoing, world-class STEAM experiences for underserved students with the purpose of increasing their confidence and ability in academic achievement and future STEM career opportunities.

It’s crucial to start early. "If you're thinking about stem education, whether it's women or underrepresented minorities, you really have to be thinking about it from cradle to college. By the time they hit kindergarten, many of them are already behind. There is leakage in every step of the pipeline so you have to have programs at every step of the pipeline." Ana Mari Cauce, President, University of Washington.


Low Income Students Nowhere to be found in STEM

NSF Brief: Early STEM Learning


The following is a re-cap of how we have progressed toward our 6 KCUA GOALS, and where we need to go to make a much broader impact in our community:

1. High-quality Professional Development for teachers and administrators

What we do:

- The Museum at Prairiefire provided Professional Development on Project-Based Learning for Ridgeview Elementary teachers and support staff.

- Pre-field trip, grade-specific Professional Development consultations at 4 out of the 7 KCUA schools regarding the Museum at Prairiefire and affiliated educational resources to help teachers effectively connect field trip experiences with classroom learning.

What we want to do:

Provide professional development for ALL KCUA EDUCATORS.

The Museum at Prairiefire education team will provide professional development workshops, offered at no cost to ALL KCUA educators, to enhance teacher’s knowledge and skill set for providing effective and engaging STEM education in the classroom. 

2. Classroom materials and equipment that promote scientific inquiry and authentic investigations

What we do:

The Museum at Prairiefire provides print and digital resources for teaching essential STEM and English Language Arts concepts prior to the students’ field trip and to reinforce essential concepts in the classroom after their field trip. Museum at Prairiefire educators work one-on-one with KCUA teachers to counsel them on implementation of these teaching and learning resources.

What we want to do:

Utilize Museum at Prairiefire’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Launch certification to implement PLTW Launch curriculum and materials in the classroom. PLTW Launch provides 24 interdisciplinary modules (4 modules per K-5 grade level) bring learning to life. Each module offers 10 hours of interactive class instruction. PLTW is known for empowering students to adopt a design-thinking mindset through compelling activities, projects, and problems that build upon each other and relate to real-world problems relevant to the student. PLTW has a demonstrated ability to engage K-5 students in hands-on activities in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW is recognized for transforming classrooms to student-led centers of inquiry and empowering students to become creative, collaborative problem solvers.

Museum at Prairiefire educators would work closely with KCUA teachers to provide instruction and capacity-building in the classroom. The Museum at Prairiefire will develop a corp of student teachers in partnership with local universities to facilitate PLTW Launch with Museum at Prairiefire educators in KCUA classrooms. 

3. Access to Urban Advantage Partner institutions through FREE school and family field trips

What we do:

Museum at Prairiefire educators counsel teachers on the KCUA program field trip opportunities. Teachers can select a half or full day KCUA experience that includes a field trip to the Museum at Prairiefire and/or a field trip to a partner institution, including the World War I Museum and Memorial, the Overland Park Arboretum, American Jazz Museum and the Kansas City Zoo. Students receive family passes to return with their families to the institutions at no charge.

What we want to do:

Expand KCUA partnerships to include as many metro area institutions as possible, thereby providing under servedstudents with the most comprehensive-access to expertise in STEM topics.

4. Outreach through family events, celebrations of student achievement, and parent coordinator workshops

What we do:

The Museum at Prairiefire offers family programming outside of educational experiences during school. For example, the MAP hosts performances and learning events through the KC Friends of Alvin Ailey where students and parents are provided with transportation to the Museum for music and dance education from the New York Alvin Ailey troupe. 

What we want to do:

Offer a wider variety of family learning experience opportunities outside of school, as well as facilitate student-directed STEAM events.  Additionally, host family programs outside of school that empower parents and caregivers to facilitate their children’s discovery of STEAM topics at home.

5. Capacity-building and sustainability structures, including a network of demonstration schools and support for the development of lead teachers

What we do:

The Museum at Prairiefire educators work closely with teachers and administrators of current KCUA schools to take stock of the needs of KCUA schools and how they are being supported by the KCUA program. This includes on-on-one  conversations with teachers and administrators as well as group discussions. These touch-points take place 2-4 times each school year. 

What we want to do:

Collaborate with KCUA educators and administrators to identify teachers within KCUA schools who have a passion and capacity to co-facilitate Professional Development sessions and support other science teachers. This will allow the KCUA program to develop deeper roots for long-term implementation in the KC Metro area.

6. Assessment of program goals, student learning, systems of delivery, and outcomes

What we do:

Related to the point above, Museum at Prairiefire educators work closely with teachers and administrators of KCUA schools to understand the needs of KCUA schools and how they are being supported by the KCUA program.

This school year we are piloting pre and post-testing of grade-specific essential concepts related to state standards on which students are tested. The purpose of this process is to identify student learning outcomes from KCUA experiences. 

What we want to do:

Track school performance on State science and math assessments to determine how students in KCUA schools perform relative to non-KCUA schools.  This is one of the key elements of the program, but will require the ability to staff accordingly, as well as develop the appropriate processes that provide accurate information and further direction for achieving the desired outcomes.